Documents and Desktop saving to iCloud - Best Practices?

I keep reading from various commentators that iCloud, and its components in general, is now working well. I am contemplating pushing the button and syncing the Documents Folder to iCloud on my primary machine.

What I have noticed there is not a lot of specific comment about how users best exploit this service. EG I have read some users set up an “alternate” Documents Folder for stuff they do not want to sync to the icloud. It would seem to create a seamless common working environment across my machines.

Documentation from Apple as always seems a bit thin. There’s no selective sync so I am not sure if I could always download want I want to my iPhone.

There must be some body of knowledge of tips and tricks that indicates the best practice or most effective way to exploit this service. Any suggestions?

I’ve had D&D for almost a year and haven’t had any problems. It’s nice being able to save items from my iphone and ipad directly to D&D. I’ve come to think of it as my universal hard disk. Two things to remember. 1) Deleting a file from one device deletes it everywhere. 2) Don’t treat the service as a backup.

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I save everything in D&D, except for project files I’m working on in Xcode or Logic as the syncing causes weirdness sometimes.
I keep a separate folder called “Local Documents“ on each device for these and swap things in and out as needed.

Is it true that syncing D&D really only works when you have a single Mac? I have an iMac and a MacBook Pro, so for that reason have resisted syncing D&D. Is anyone doing this on multiple Macs in a way that works?

I’ve had zero problems syncing two MBPs and a Mini.

@GraemeS Do you end up with a single Documents folder in iCloud, or are there three, one for each of your computers?

Just the one, it works as expected for me.

Thank you, everyone, for your comments. Its given me the confidence to tick the D&D box. I am not sure its structured properly because I have a Documents - iMac Folder (good) but the folders from my MacAir seemed dumped alongside, … but I don’t need these if I have a universal hard disk approach mentioned by Tvilleme. Presumably, it will take a few days before everything is in the cloud. I will report progress in due course.

The Desktop and Document folders will now show up in the Finder sidebar under the iCloud heading. It took me a while to get used to that.

Well, the process of D&D sync has started - 90% of folder structure is in place and a few files but very little upload activities. I think I have read elsewhere this can take a long time! Frustrating! :wink:

I feel your pain. My initial D&D sync must have occurred while I wasn’t paying close attention. Over the last couple of weeks I have had problems with Apple services. Two weeks ago, I helped two in-laws set up their first smartphones. I couldn’t even login to Apple ID pages to set up accounts. Last week I had to resort to Air Drop when Photos In iCloud was experiencing a slowdown. Monday the outgoing mail server was glacially slow, it would eventually send emails but would time out on emails with attachments. I think the person responsible for feeding the hamsters was on holiday!

Everything appears to be working today and yesterday’s OS updates went very quickly. Maybe your D&D will be ready for business soon.

I hope you’ll give us a progress report.

Some of the woes listed in my first response could be attributed to lousy upload speeds at my house. The same might apply to your sync slowness.

I wish i would have came up with a solution to sync Logic projects and other files outside of the D&D folders when I had two Macs…

Apple says iCloud will cope with any file under 50GB - though feedback suggests some files do not seem very happy with iCloud eg it doesn’t seem to like the Microsoft User Data Folder. My iMac seemed to have got indigestion from the move to D&D sync. It may be entirely coincidental but I booted in safe mode and the upload process got cracking and I have a fair chance this will be finished today, (I have about 300GB to upload).

For what its worth apple insiderr has just started a series on iCloud and they mention some clunkiness in the transition phase.

Progress Report:

  1. It was an inspired move to run my iMac in Safe Mode; the initial upload seemed to be multiple times faster than it would have been otherwise.
  2. I never thought about it; but Backblaze reacted to D&D by seeing as a new folder structure and starting a completely new upload. I have had to tweak my Internet allowance.
  3. I also back up to a small Synology machine - its hard to know if it’s coped with the change; on the face of it the backups on Synology are pre D&D - but it is rumbling away and may catch up with developments in a few days time.
  4. I also have an Arq backup activity that involves Documents Folder; never missed a step or a beat! Fantastic!
  5. Perhaps not surprisingly my iPhone seems to show a result quickest when there is a change on my iMac or MacAir.
  6. I was/am confused about comments that D&D only works with WIFI. Perhaps this comment for uploads as I can download on to my iPhone on mobile connection.
  7. Hazel playing up - not sure why - will need to sort out.
  8. My iMac seems slower; I will do some maintenance and hope things settle down.

Yes I like the universal hard drive thing; hope Files and iCloud drive is sweetened up in time. :slight_smile:

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Thanks for this report - this weekend I also consolidated files from Dropbox and Synology Drive into my iCloud Documents folder with D&D turned on and my experiences mirrored yours.

My Arq backup is useful to have and I’m pleased to have cut out Synology Drive as the app was clunky. I still use my Synology as a destination for an Arq backup (along with Google Drive) but iCloud gives me a lot more given I can use the native Files app without needing to add in DS Files/Synology Drive.

I can now see myself upgrading to the 2TB plan.

All that uploading would have brought my DSL down to its knees! Your backup strategy makes mine look feeble.

Re. D&D only on Wi-Fi. The comments probably came from people who set their phones to block the Files app from using cell data. An option you can turn on or opp in Settings>Cellular. I’m not sure what the default setting is, mine is currently On.

Another nice feature of the Files app. Deleted files go into a folder named Recently Deleted. Im glad Apple includes such folders in many of the standard apps, saved my bacon a couple of times.

Yes, I have had my small Synology for about a year now. I don’t really know what I am doing with this and Synology instructions are a mixed bag. I have had multiple problems with Synology Drive but I liked the fact that when it is working on song its an instant back up. Nevertheless, I tempted to dump Synology Drive and utilise Arq as you are doing.

There seems little documented about practical matters with D&D. It’s a mystery why Arq can seamlessly deal with the “upheaval” to D&D but Backblaze apparently does not. My Scansnap app needed re-setting re Folder locations when other apps did not. Noodlesoft who make Hazel App say the app may not work well under D&D iCloud sync. It would be nice to have some of this “good to know” stuff documented somewhere.

I now have the 2TB iCloud Storage - it seems ridiculous amount - even when I have family sharing operating - it seems strange how Apple categorise the options, …

I have made an effort to comment about my experience - there may be things unique to my set up - though I hope someone gets something out of this in due course. I might do another update in a month. :slight_smile:

Re Synology, internally I use it for Plex file storage and then a target for CarbonCopyCloner and Arq - CCC does a weekly drive image and Arq runs daily for the D&D folders generally and hourly for critical folders within those in case I lose internet connectivity/iCloud goes down.

I have kept Synology Drive running actually for my wife and I to have a small shared folder of admin files, because unless things have changed iCloud only permits sharing at the file level and not folders.

I might do a larger post on what I use Synology, Arq and D&D for but still working it out myself. My poor Synology, with all its fancy functionality, is basically reverting to a simple file server!

I have dumped Synology Drive; not only was it clunky, it was not entirely clear when it was not working as expected. So yes it’s now just a rather fancy, bulky “hard drive”.

My transition to D&D has really just been are affirmation about a path I have been taking, or at least a thought process that sees me dumping a chunk of well known fancy Apps. There is always a wide range of use cases but I am coming to the conclusion that things like Text Editors, Evernote or DEVONthink are all or nothing options. They are great Apps but with search and automation etc a lot can now be easily done with the standard folder system.

On another topic I was disconcerted to see iCloud starting a fresh upload which took about a day; however, not much data went up so I presume there was gremlin with a file framework somewhere that triggered this. Hope this does not happen too often.

I hope all goes swimmingly from this point, …